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Welcome to Charming, the year is now 1894. It’s time to join us and immerse yourself in scandal and drama interlaced with magic both light and dark.

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It’s quite unusual for a caster's patronus to be their favourite animal, but very possible that it will take the shape of a creature they’ve never before seen or heard of. — Amy
As he fell, Ford recalled the trials of Gulliver during his interactions with the Lilliputians.
Potato Wars

odds & ends
6 February 1892 — Dervish & Banges

It was a Sunday, and although Dot's business didn't necessarily always run on a consistent weekly schedule she had no appointments today. She'd decided to take the opportunity to run errands, the first of which on her list was checking in on the repair of an enchanted item she'd owned for a while. It was one of a kind (at least to her knowledge; she'd never found another like it), so she had expected that fixing the charmwork on it would take some time and effort, but she was determined to have it back in her possession as soon as possible all the same. It wasn't something she used with every client, but often enough that the lack of it was a major inconvenience to her practice. It was also a rather sensitive item — what she described it doing to her clients was not what it actually did, necessarily, but a slight equivocation never hurt anyone.

When she'd arrived at the shop the clerk was busy with another customer, so she decided to take a turn about and see if anything new caught her eye. Dervish and Banges didn't often have things that were useful to her, but there were almost always things that were interesting, so it was never a poor use of her time. She hadn't taken a turn halfway around the shop yet when she spied a familiar face, however.

"Dear Lissington," she said warmly, as she eyed the trinket he'd had in his hands. "Whatever could you want with an enchanted ring? It's not your style at all," she joked — the ring was clearly for a woman. "And I don't think it would suit your mother, either."
Gus Lissington

Beautiful set by Kit!
His sister had sent him a seething letter his first week at Hogwarts, demanding how he hadn’t even had the nerve to write to her that he’d been returning; it had been a whirlwind for himself as Gus had accepted the position without much thought of the what ifs and what nows, but then again, most of decision had been made that way. He’d tried to make plans with her today, but she’d been angry enough to stand him up - not that he could blame her in the slightest. Gus had missed some important moments for her recently and hadn’t even uttered a single apology for any of them. He couldn’t even recall if he’d remember to send the letter accepting her invitation.

Still, he wasn’t ready to return to Hogwarts and think about his actions so he milled about some of the shops, finally finding himself in Dervish and Banges; he always tended to walk out with something in his hand even if he didn’t need it. Gus was a collector of enchanted things, finding there was something calming about figuring out if an object was charmed in more ways than the shopkeeper advertised. He hadn't spent much in the store when the clerk had approached him to sweet talk him into purchasing an enchanted ring for the special woman in his life. Gus hadn’t been able to open his mouth to ask what it did before the clerk was hurrying away to deal with someone else, leaving him to stare at the ring in his hand. Perhaps Fig would forgive him if he presented her with an apology gift.

His eyes flickered up from the ring when he heard a familiar voice, his face breaking out in a sheepish grin - he hadn’t seen Dot in what felt like a century. “Maybe I’m finally ready to settle down and this ring is enchanted to find my one true love.” Grinning widely Gus shifted his gaze toward her. “Oh no. Did it bring you to me? I don’t think this’ll work out.”

He laughed then, his fingers curling around the ring.

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Dot's smile widened at the jibe. She was hardly going to take offense at the implication that he might not want to marry her; she'd been the one who'd pressed not to debut, and even though the debut did seem to be in her future she doubted she would ever marry. Given her position on the matter, it would have been strange to take offense. (Though if she were to marry, he might not be a poor choice — traveling and adventuring as he so often did, at least he was bound to have interesting stories to tell over dinner).

"Unless you intend to roll it down the street and follow it along like a pup chasing a cat, I doubt it'll help you find much of anything," she pointed out. "You'd probably do better to ask for a compass. Or just come visit me for tea sometime," she continued lightly. "I'm sure I could draw up a whole list of suggestions, all more suitable than me." (In fact, this was a service she had performed — for no small fee — on one occasion for a particularly love-lorn young gentleman who had faced a spring of bad luck when it came to romance. The more salient part of her services rendered in that case had been sending a note to his laundress to use stronger soap on his clothing in order to mask his body odor; the gentleman was now engaged, and all thanks to Dot's consulting services).

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Gus couldn’t help but laugh as his fingers tightened around the ring in his hand before he flicked his gaze up to her. “Perhaps I intend to wait until the season starts, and then unleash havoc at one of the balls by doing just that. She’ll have to fall in love with me on sight and then I’ll whisk her away.” He had no intentions of actually going to much of the season, if any of it. His sister had already debuted and was either being courted or married (at this point he was too afraid to ask if that was why Fig was so angry with him), and his parents would let him settle for a year before they got on his case to marry, if they did at all.

He’d be a cursebreaker before he settled down to marry anyone.

Gus’ grin widened as he continued. “You can be my date to ensure you witness the whole ordeal and I’ll promise to give you all the credit. Although perhaps I’ll stop by when you’re free and see what you have for me. Still have my weekend at Hogwarts free for February.” Of course he knew the one name he wanted to be on that list wouldn’t be - Basil couldn’t marry him and right now he thought Gus was incapable of love. He huffed a laugh as he flicked his gaze up to her.

“In all actuality Fig is going to murder me when I see her next, so this is my ‘please hide my body where it can be easily found’ gift.” He shrugged; she’d sent him a couple angry letters and well, he had only managed to reply with a couple of sorrys and I’ll visit soon.

Dot pressed her lips together in a grin at his remarks about the next ball he attended, but made a tsk tsk noise all the same. "If you think inviting a date along to the event where you'll supposedly meet the lady of your dreams is a good idea, it's no wonder you're turning to magical assistance," she declared. "You're quite hopeless, aren't you?" Not that he had ever been known to make much of an effort, as far as she knew. Did he even go to balls, or was he always abroad during the social season? She wasn't going to ask. She didn't go to balls (yet, anyway; that would change if her mother had her way about her upcoming debut) so it wasn't as though she could call him out on the lie.

"What have you done to your poor saint of a sister now?" she asked, all curiosity. She wouldn't necessarily take Figeuroa's side against his, but she was always on the look out for gossip (or, as she preferred to think of it, important bits of loose information that might become useful at any moment). "And what does Hogwarts have to do with anything?" It had been years since anyone in the Lissington family had been a student, as far as she was aware, so it was a strange turn of conversation. Hopefully he wasn't about to reveal some previously unmentioned younger sibling they'd kept cooped up in the attic any time Dot and her mother had paid a neighborly call.

Beautiful set by Kit!
“Entirely hopeless.” Gus agreed as he laughed and rubbed the back of his head. He hated these conversations and expectations of what he knew he couldn’t do - there most certainly would never be a Mrs. Lissington. “If I manage to meet the girl of my dreams it certainly won’t be at a stuffy ball, although I wouldn’t mind making them jealous with a pretty girl on my arm.” He grinned at her as he held his arm out to her, as if they’d be whisked away from the shop to the fictional ball they spoke if she took it. At least he hadn’t heard any rumors of his dislike of women, although he knew he’d make it a point to dance with a few.

Then Gus snorted loudly, his hand flying to cover his mouth to keep from laughing. All he could picture was his sister’s freckled face pinched in anger and all the spells she could use on him. She’d make a great hit wizard if she was able to hold the position. “I wouldn’t dare call my sister a saint by any means! I’m afraid I missed a very important event for Fig, although whether or not it was her engagement or marriage is up in the air.” He shrugged. There wasn’t much he could have done to be there, work called after all. “Either way she is very angry about me missing that and for me failing to owl her I’d taken the Defence AGainst the Dark Arts position at Hogwarts.”

If Gus was a bit more prideful or wished to impress her more  he may have puffed his chest out. Instead he raked his fingers through his hair before flashing her a lopsided grin. “I think you should enchant this ring with some luck so I live to see thirty.” He laughed quietly as he held the ring out to her.

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His news surprised her, and it showed on her face; her eyebrows raised and her eyes lit up with curiosity. Before she could question him on the matter, though, he was offering her the ring. Dot took a second to consider it, then reached out to take it between her fingers.

"I don't believe in luck," she declared as she turned the ring over in the palm of her hand. She offered him a smile that was half apologetic, half conspiratorial. The latter probably because if he was coming to her as a client at any point, she never would had admitted she didn't believe in luck; it was easier to charge him for a charm she'd never cast than admit there was nothing to be done about the matter. "But it's a nice ring. Pair it with that smile of yours and perhaps it will win her over," Dot said as she offered it back to him.

"Your sister won't storm Hogwarts castle, in any case," she pointed out with a grin. "But I'm surprised to hear you're teaching. You don't seem old enough," she pointed out. Then, clearly teasing: "Or smart enough."

Beautiful set by Kit!
Gus grinned at her; of everything he knew of Dorothea Twycross, he wasn’t shocked to hear that she didn’t believe in luck. He was the opposite - he’d swear on his life that Lady Luck had saved his life on more than one occasion. He had a variety of lucky charms most would call useless trinkets, although they were often enchanted to be tiny enough to fit in a pocket or to hang off off his trousers while tromping through tombs and caves and anything of the like. Perhaps it was time to permanently affix himself one for Hogwarts - Gus needed all the luck he could get there.

He took the ring back and slipped it over his pinky, finding that it barely fit there; he still needed to purchase it, but he could only hope that with this, his smile and batting his blue eyes at his sister she wouldn’t murder him on the spot. “I am old enough, although smart enough is still to be seen.” He hummed in agreement. Gus was always doubting his ability as a professor and consistently spent many nights pondering if he’d made the right choice of coming home. “Almost burnt down my classroom with a Hinkypunk, so even if you don’t believe in luck, I clearly could use some.” He winked at her as his smile widened.

Then Gus rubbed the back of his head. “You didn’t answer my question, Miss Twycross,” Never mind the fact that he hadn’t asked a question. “Do you need my help to find the man of your dreams?” Another thought crossed his mind and his face lit up with a laugh. “Are you debuting? Or did I miss it? Because I do believe you may owe me a dance, although I probably have two left feet at this point.” He hadn’t danced in over a decade; they’d probably be the laughing stock, but Gus would have fun doing it.

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Dot grimaced, with more feeling than the situation merited; she was putting on a bit of a show for Lissington. "I am debuting," she admitted, with the same energy that one might confess to having caught a terminal illness. "After my next birthday. Mama is still holding out hope that I might follow in her footsteps and be a career woman and a wife, although I've told her I'm quite happy with the former. But it's probably for the best," she continued. "If we didn't at least give it a go, I'm afraid father might do something drastic. I don't think he's fully made peace with the idea of never being rid of me."

Beautiful set by Kit!
Twycross was being a bit dramatic, and Gus couldn’t help but laugh quietly at her. He would never understand what debuting was like - he was a male afterall, and didn’t have to do such frivolous things like wear a dress and pretend to be someone he wasn’t in order to bag a husband. (Although he would do it if it meant he was allowed to marry another man, dress and all.) “You should thrilled, although I can’t say I blame you. I wouldn't want to give up my career, and honestly I wouldn't expect a wife to give up hers either. Gotta have some kind of dreams.” Another laugh, Gus had no problems calling out the poor woman.

He wasn’t sure he’d ever been to a proper debut outside of his sister’s - he’d left the day after he’d graduated from Hogwarts, but had managed to attend a portion of the coming out ball. Then he’d been home for Fig’s debut because she threatened to cut his fingers off if he wasn’t there, and that was it. Ring forgotten for the time being, still snug against one of his pinky fingers, the redhead stuck his hand out to her. “Well Miss Twycross, may I have your very last pre-debut dance.” Gus tossed her a shit-eating grin. He was expecting to be smacked or scoffed at, but he couldn’t help it. He knew he was drawing attention from the others in the store, but right now he didn’t care.

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Had they been somewhere else (and had she been a more graceful dancer) Dot might have humored him. As it was, she cast a glance at the other customers in the shop and swatted his hand away. "I shan't make a fool of myself in a shop on a Sunday morning," she said, with a tone that affected pride though she was biting back a smile as she said it. "But if you ask me in a ballroom, you can have as many dances as you please."

It was not done to give a gentleman more than one or two dances over the course of an evening, but for Lissington Dot felt she could make an exception. Honestly, if she ever were to marry, he would be an amicable choice. She didn't expect that she would ever marry, but if she were forced to make a decision — if her father were determined to see her wed, for example — she might as well marry someone like him. He could keep flitting around the globe or teaching at Hogwarts or whatever it was he liked, and she could go about her business. The only real inconvenience would be changing the names on all of her business cards and advertisements.

Beautiful set by Kit!
Gus flashed her an all-teeth smile as he tilted his head back and laughed. “Next time I’ll be sure to ask on a Monday afternoon,” he said, allowing his hand to fall back to his side. He shook his head as he laughed quietly, fiddling with the ring that was still snug against his finger “I will take you up on that offer.”

He hadn’t the slightest idea of how many balls he’d go to, but he supposed Fig would drag him to at least a few, and he’d go to some mostly to hang out with his friends. He had ten years of making up to do, and there was no better place to reacquaint himself with people than a ball; after all, they couldn’t make a scene with so many eyes around them, and there was always a topic of interest when it came to some people who attended.

Plucking the ring from his finger, Gus offered Twycross a small and a nod. “It was a pleasure to see you again, Miss Twycross. I’ll owl you so we can set up a time to meet, so you can work your matchmaker magic.” His smile widened a bit. He wanted to add a bit of whisking her away from people she didn’t want to dance with if she needed it, but he wasn’t a knight of shining armor. Instead he wrapped his fingers around the ring. This would be a fine present.

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